Virtualization specialist Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS) just kicked off its fiscal 2012 with first-quarter earnings, putting up healthy growth in the process.

Revenue rose 20% to $589 million, which gave way to non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.59. Both of those figures stood tall against the Street's consensus estimates, which were asking for just $561.8 million in sales with a $0.51-per-share profit.

CEO Mark Templeton said Citrix's growth is being driven by "three powerful forces -- the need for mobility, the enterprise cloud evolution, and the build-out of hosted cloud services." Product and license sales jumped 19%, while software as a service, or SaaS, revenue increased 21%. Echoing other tech companies' recent earnings, the Pacific geographical segment showed the most growth, soaring by 40%.

Larger virtualization rival VMware (NYSE: VMW) reported just last week, sending shares to all-time highs as that company's revenue similarly grew 25% to just over $1 billion. Virtualization continues to be an increasingly important sector, and Citrix recently partnered with Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) to deliver a new virtual desktop infrastructure appliance.

The company continues to make small acquisitions, recently announcing an acquisition of Podio, a smaller company that serves up a collaborative work platform. Late last year, the company also picked up App-DNA and ShareFile.

Next quarter, Citrix expects revenue to be between $605 million and $615 million, with non-GAAP earnings per share between $0.58 and $0.59. That profit forecast is actually shy of the $0.63 that the Street is looking for, although the full-year picture looks brighter, with fiscal 2012 revenue outlook of $2.53 billion to $2.56 billion. The bottom line should be in the range of $2.75 to $2.79 per share, which is higher than the $2.74 consensus estimate.

Last quarter, the company said it was investing in its future and even provided soft guidance for this quarter. This earnings release shows that Citrix was just being conservative, as it exceeded the high ends on both top and bottom lines.

It looks like it's going to be a good year for Citrix.

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Fool contributor Evan Niu holds no position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of VMware and writing covered calls on Dell. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.